I’m a big history nerd. I’m not only a history major, but someone who collects and wears historical clothes, who owns figurines of historical figures, who collects books on my favorite parts of history, and who played history games throughout my entire childhood. Studying history has always been a huge part of my identity, and one I’m still happy to include in my life today. But it’s probably time to admit it: I hate historical TV shows. As a history geek, I should love them, but it’s hard for me to stomach a single one.
These shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun.
I have one main reason, and it’s that these shows are straight-up boring. The lighting is too dark, the costumes too beige and ugly, and every word of dialogue is spoken in a raspy whisper. Everything is so bleak it’s almost impossible to follow. Try watching The Medici or The Tudors. I have difficulty figuring out anything that’s going on. And don’t get me started on the lighting in The Crown.
And trust me, I won’t hear the excuse that real life was just as bleak back then. As a keen student of historical costuming, I know that a lot of historical clothing was bright, extravagant, and sometimes just ridiculous. I admit it’s not the biggest issue, but it still rubs me the wrong way. I feel like these shows forget that people in the past did, in fact, have fun occasionally. You rarely see any entertainment or festivities in these shows, unless they’re doomed to go horribly wrong. You almost never see any characters genuinely laugh in these shows. Sure, living in the past was terrible in a lot of ways, but people still retained a sense of humor.
I’ll give you an example. I once made the horrible mistake of attempting to watch Da Vinci’s Demons, which loosely follows the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and encapsulates everything I hate about historical television. The show portrays Leonardo as a tortured, edgy womanizer, despite the fact that he was almost certainly gay and, by all accounts, a very pleasant person. Throughout the show, he almost exclusively wears dark, tattered shirts and dusty trousers, whereas the historical Leonardo wore brightly-colored tunics and tights. It might sound ridiculous to the modern viewer, but personally, I think we should acknowledge the absurdity of history. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s easier to relate to people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
There’s also a lot of unnecessary drama in historical TV shows. I’ll admit, this trend strikes me as odd because there’s already so much drama in real history. Shows like The Tudors, The Borgias, The Last Kingdom, and The Medici like to make a big deal out of political battles and sex scandals, and rarely imbue these plot lines with any humor or humanity. Drama is important for entertainment’s sake, but we can still try and make the drama seem somewhat human. Most relationships aren’t built on stolen glances and steamy affairs. Why not portray these love stories with affection, awkwardness, and a tiny bit of down-to-earth humanity?
History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life.
Even the grand, epic battles are a little too dramatic for my sake. They ignore the disease, the squalor, and the sheer tedium of real-life battles. It might not be fun to acknowledge the unglamorous parts of history, but it makes for better television. If we’re going to relate to these historical figures, we need to at least see them as human.
Most historical TV shows seem totally unwilling to have any fun with history. They refuse to acknowledge that along with the drama and sadness of history, there’s also comedy and absurdity and awkwardness. Historical people were real human beings. Sometimes they wore ridiculous outfits, joked around with each other, and made awkward mistakes. History isn’t all epic battles and heaving bosoms, a lot of it is everyday life. I certainly don’t think these shows are evil, but they do make history feel so much more distant and detached than it really is.
We should remember that history has plenty of dimensions, some good and some bad, some funny and some serious, some totally normal and some downright weird. It doesn’t help to glamorize or romanticize history, but it doesn’t help to dull it down either. Historical figures were people too, and our television should at least recognize them as such. Besides, it’s more fun that way anyway.
We’ve had a good time binging The Crown’s latest season and gushing over Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen’s Gambit. But that doesn’t mean the fun is over because there are so many films scheduled for release this December. And hopefully we’ll be able get to witness the greatness in theatres soon enough.
I absolutely miss being able to have a night out with friends at the theatres; buying the overpriced snacks and walking out the dark room feeling as though I’m in an alternate reality. Well, the season’s tidings bring merry news of being able to experience it all over again!
So, if you’re a film enthusiast like me and have been anticipating these upcoming releases, sit back, enjoy the movie selection and save the date for your favorite picks!
1) Mank (December 4th)
Set in the 1930’s, Hollywood takes a new form, this time we’re given the point of view of the legendary screenwriter Herman J. Mank. You can watch the enthralling black and white biography on Netflix.
2) Nomadland (December 4th)
Ever wonder what trekking around America would be like? Nomadland portrays exactly that. This film releases in theatres and shows the story of a woman who chooses to explore beyond life beyond everyday conventions.
3) Let Them All Talk(December 10th)
Who doesn’t enjoy a good self-reflection, especially when it involves a cruise and your two best friends! And where there are old friendships involved, there’s got to be drama! Tune in to Meryl Streep’s journey as an author who reconnects with her old gal pals and revives her youth. You can find out the details of what goes down exclusively on HBO Max.
4) The Prom (December 11th)
Hold up… You’re telling me Meryl Streep is hitting the stage again? I couldn’t have heard better news. Ryan Murphy’s bringing back our Dancing Queen. This time she’s with Nicole Kidman and James Corden, all ready to give us a smashing prom musical style. And you can witness it courtesy of Netflix.
5) Death on the Nile(December 18th)
Bump up your winter plans with a love triangle and a steamy murder mystery! Coming to theatres we have Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright, Emma Mackey, and Kenneth Branagh, roped into a murder motivated by love and lust. Talk about a killer cast!
6) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (December 18th)
Revolving around a beautiful story about the earliest African-American blues singer, Ma Rainey, this Netflix film showcases the beauty in culture and music. Although that’s not all. We also get to witness the great Chadwick Boseman (may he rest in power) on the screen one last time. I already know the film will be immensely heartfelt!
7) The Midnight Sky (December 23rd)
Venture into the depths of the universe in this heart-wrenching and intense sci-fi film starring and directed by our favorite George Clooney -based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight. Exclusive on Netflix.
8) Wonder Woman 1984 (December 25th)
We’ve all awaited the return of Wonder Woman. She’s back and she’s upgraded, giving the phrase ‘girl power’ a whole new meaning. You can catch her and the dreamy Steve Trevor, once again in theatres on Christmas Day. It really is a Christmas Miracle!
9) Soul (December 25th)
Disney and Pixar are about to make everyone’s Christmas extra magical. Hop onto your Disney+ to stream the movie with your loved ones and find a new reason to love life. It’s exactly the kind of spirit everybody needs and this movie is here to deliver it!
10) News of the World (December 25th)
This heart-warming film features Tom Hanks as a non-fiction story-teller who travels across lands. His mission to care for a young girl whom he finds amidst his travels is filled with emotion. The passion in this movie is definitely going to be one you could feel whilst watching it in theatres.
11) Monster Hunter (December 25th)
Monster Hunter is set in an alternate world filled with beasts and a battle for survival, whilst the world hangs in the balance of it all. If you’re into action-packed thrillers, you’ll want to get tickets as an early Christmas present to watch in the theatre. Did I mention it’s based upon a videogame? The graphics already look amazing!
I know my plans for December just upgraded because I’ll be spending A LOT of my time watching these films! If you missed some of November’s releases, here they are.
We all know the trope. The main character is skinny, white, pretty. She can be goofy, but rarely at her own expense. Her love stories are the focus of the plot. She always has a funny sidekick, often a woman of color, and most commonly a plus-size woman. She’s there to provide emotional support and a witty one-liner or two. Think of Sookie in Gilmore Girls, who plays second fiddle to thin and quirky Lorelai Gilmore. Or think of Etta Candy in every incarnation of Wonder Woman. Even children’s shows, like Total Drama Island, Good Luck Charlie, and Austin and Ally repeat these tropes. Don’t fat women deserve better?
It’s nice to see fat women in the media, for once, but why do they always have to be funny? Almost every larger woman in TV or the movies is basically a walking joke. Sure, it’s gotten more diverse, but the representation itself has barely improved. Fat women are still relegated to comic relief or goofy sidekick. You might say we’re a long way from the Fat Monica gags on Friends, but that’s not true. Think about Insatiable, featuring Debby Ryan, which treats its main character as a joke until she loses weight. That’s the same formula, isn’t it?
Let’s consider some of the most popular plus-size actresses around now. Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson both broke into the mainstream years ago, and their popularity has rarely floundered. They’ve both been in dozens of TV shows and movies, usually playing comedic roles, which they do brilliantly. Rebel Wilson just recently had her first starring role in a romantic comedy, for which she garnered critical praise. Melissa McCarthy won an Academy Award for her dramatic lead role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? However, if you ask most people, they primarily think of them as comedic actors or side characters. Why is that? They’ve both shown that they have range, and both immense comedic and dramatic talent. They’ve both played lead roles. So why do we relegate them to comedic side characters when they’ve proven that they’re capable of so much more?
These two women are success stories, however. Most plus-size actresses never get the chance to expand into dramatic acting. Skinny comedic actresses have plenty of opportunities to break into dramatic acting, even if they’re not particularly talented actors. Skinny comedic actors also get totally different treatment. Actresses like Jennifer Aniston and Anna Kendrick are in plenty of rom-coms, but when they’re funny, it’s quirky and cute. They’re rarely the butt of a rude joke. Furthermore, these skinny comedic actors are able to break into dramatic roles with ease. Plus size actresses have to prove over and over again that they’re worthy of serious roles, whereas skinny actresses can easily transition from comedy to drama and vice versa.
The problem I see with this is that plus size women constantly have to prove their worth to others time and time over to be taken even remotely seriously.They need to be funny and willing to make jokes at their own expense in return for our consideration. We require humor and self-deprecation from fat women, in return for the common human decency we all return. Fat women don’t need to put on a performance to earn their keep. They are capable of the same range of emotions and humanity as the rest of us.
We deserve more fat women on television, and not just as comedic sidekicks.
I want fat women in periodic dramas, with pretty dresses and dramatic love triangles. I want to see fat women in rom-coms, having meet-cutes and falling for handsome heartthrobs. Let’s see some fat girls in coming-of-have fantasy stories, as the chosen one, as the hero.
Plus size girls and women have every right to just as beautiful, dramatic, and tragic as their skinny counterparts. For once, I’d like to see a version of Gilmore Girls where a plus size mother and daughter are the protagonists, and get to be cute and quirky and fun. I’d like to see a fat Wonder Woman too.
A woman’s value should never be dictated by her size, and that’s true in television as well as in real life. Let the big girls be the heroes for once. They deserve it.
Before I sat down to watch Jane the Virgin, I thought it would be completely unrelatable. After all, I wasn’t a virgin, and I definitely wasn’t accidentally getting pregnant.
However, after watching it for the first time, I found that so many aspects of the show resonated with my life. Jane the Virgin is a refreshing drama and comedy that showcases the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a religious 23- year oldvirgin who has planned out her whole life and is completely on track for her own personal success.
I thought I wouldn’t resonate with the show— but I was wrong.
She is studying to be a teacher and she dreams of being a published author. She is also dating Michael, the perfect man for her. Everything in her life is going the way she wants it to until she accidentally gets artificially inseminated and becomes pregnant with another man’s child.
This satirical telenovela allows viewers to feel a roller coaster of emotions. I loved it so much that I rewatched it again in Spanish with my mom.
The idea for this stemmed from a feeling that I wasn’t spending enough time with my mom. After all, I had just graduated from college and moved back home after 4 and a half years. It was a hard adjustment to start spending time with her in person rather than just having a few late-night calls a month. We had never watched a show together, so I thought it would be a great idea as a way to bond.
This show touches many important issues for the Latinx community
Shows are also great conversation starters, and Jane the Virgin was not an exception. This show touches on so many important issues for the Latinx community including matriarchy, religion, immigration, sexuality, and the idea of family bonds. We laughed, cried, and definitely grew closer during the months we spent watching this show.
With the female protagonists and lead actresses, Jane the Virgin does an amazing job at highlighting the different experiences that women face in life. While Jane is ‘little miss perfect’, her mother Xiomara is an outgoing and eccentric dance teacher with dreams of having a singing career. She had Jane when she was only 16-years old and Jane never got to meet her father until she was 23 because her parents split when her mother got pregnant. Jane’s grandmother, Alba Villanueva, is a deeply religious woman who helped raise Jane and made her vow to not lose her virginity until marriage.
I love the fact that this show is centered around the relationship between the women of the Villanueva family. The relationship between the women in my life is very similar. My grandmother, who I’ve always considered a matriarch, raised 6 daughters, my mother and my aunts, who I will always look up to as the strongest women in my life. My mother raised myself and my 3 younger sisters all on her own. Our relationships and the life experiences they taught me about are part of what defines me and who I am today. I was raised by strong women, and it was beautiful to see the same kind of powerful female energy captured in the show.
Alba’s story of becoming an American citizen after being terrified of getting deported for almost 30 years is one aspect of the show that resonated with me. My parents are immigrants, and the whole immigrant experience, in general, is one that many of our Latinx families can relate to, especially because many of them came here to start a new life just like Alba. My mom definitely teared up when Alba had her citizenship ceremony, because it brought up memories and feelings from when she went through the process. It also came at a time whenimmigration became an important issue in this country.
I’ve had many important conversations with my mum as a result of the show
Jane the Virgin also includesrepresentation of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a subject that my mother and I never sat down to speak about, but the show definitely enabled us to have that conversation. There were various lesbian women on the show and even some gay men. At first, I could tell that my mom felt a bit uncomfortable watching lesbians making out on TV, but, after some time, she accepted it. And she wanted the characters to be happy. That was progress for someone who comes from a culture and family that is not very approving of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m glad that she was exposed to the topic through this show.
Not only does this show touch on important subjects of sexuality, butsex itself. Jane, who was a virgin when she had her son, finally loses her virginity in the third season. Other characters freely explore their sex lives and own them. Jane’s mother, Xiomara, dates various men throughout the show and openly talks about her sex life with her daughter. Eventually, Jane’s devout widowed grandmother confesses that she is scared of having sex because she hasn’t experienced pleasure in over 30 years. Jane even takes her to buy a vibrator!
This was a very touchy subject for my mom and me. When I confessed to her that I wasn’t a virgin she got a bit upset at me but, eventually, we came to terms with the fact that sex is a natural part of the human experience.
Watching Jane the Virgin in Spanish not only helped me appreciate the language even more, but it opened my eyes to so many important issues that we do not talk about enough in the Latinx community. Many of the important conversations that I have had with my mother recently have been a result of this show. I am grateful for this intricate but refreshing portrayal of my community. It is a gem of our generation.
Usually when I think of unrequited love, I think of something great. Some sort of grand story full of catharsis. Unrequited is generally special.
A type of love that demands to be talked about for an eternity. Something electric, with compulsive wavelengths. Something like the movies that comes with its own playlist attached to it.
Something with late and long nights spent together in a damp minivan twinkling and spitting out dreams on a whim. Something with vicious fights fueled by our own desire. Something that makes my soul open up just as swiftly as it gets torn apart. And, somehow I wind up bursting at the seams yet feel completely unsatisfied. I always want more.
Why do we long for the type of love that hurts so much it imprints our hearts? It is difficult to locate the line that separates struggle and triumph, as nearly every love story in popular media blurs the two. But unrequited love is so unbelievably magnificent and sad at the same time that it becomes all encompassing.
Unrequited love is an entire body, overwhelming, feeling. I have broken hearts before and I have had my heart broken, so I can tell you that the feeling never fades, one way or the other. It feels as if you are running fast, and for a long time, yet making no distance at all.
One time I waited two months for a guy to message me back before I realized that he just wasn’t going to. Ever. Again. And that entire time I couldn’t help but wonder why I cared so much. What we had wasn’t at all special, but I still was left longing for a distraction from the heartbreak. I was showered by his passivity instead of his kisses and I wanted him to know how much his absence hurt me, but he was so equally careless and carefree that none of it mattered.
Not even for a second.
I felt unrequited love again while in a long-distance relationship. This kind of unrequited was different. It wasn’t one-sided. Instead, we felt tremendously for each other. It’s just that our bodies weren’t able to be physically together for some time. We were only long distance for the few months that I would be studying abroad, but it felt like an eternity. I remember being there and using all of my senses to try to gauge what his touch felt like.
Somedays I would wake up and watch the sun from my window, silently knowing that that same sun wouldn’t bounce to him for another six hours, and I would recall how that same sun looked dancing across his back at dawn. I’d lay in bed at night and want to tell him about my day, but I knew that I couldn’t. I was constantly reminded that he no longer took up the space in between my arms when we slept. But I was, and still am, fascinated by the immediate consumption of these moments. I am so grateful to have given him my heart. He still has it.
The extent of passion is practically boundless. We should feel like we can fly on a whim, or scream and dance, when we are in love. Unrequited love just forces you to confront that intensity, those struggles and triumphs, head on. Some of it is beautiful; some not so much. I like to remind myself that love doesn’t need a reason, love just is.
Unrequited love is messy, but worth it. It is a collection of fleeting moments. It teaches us that all love should be leaking, dripping, through every difficulty yet also a thread that is continuously weaving through and connecting our bodies and our souls. The whole point of longing is to continue, because there will always be potential to love someone rather than to have loved someone. They can’t be the one that got away if they weren’t the one in the first place.
I remember all throughout elementary school I had a core friend group of four. We werebest friends and we didn’t really interact with anyone else. I guess you could say we were exclusive. Of course, we would have other friends, but we made it pretty clear that it was us four against the world. The group did change – every year, it was with another group of four, until 7th grade, when I moved to Texas. Soon enough though, I formed new friendships that I thought would last a lifetime. Now, I am completely lost in my Junior year after quitting band and having three of my best friends move schools.
You’d think I would’ve easily moved on, I’ve never really had trouble making new friends, but this year was different. Before COVID-19 hit, I bounced around between larger friend groups within my school, and never really found a place where I felt like I belonged. Band was the perfect place for me. I felt accepted for being me. But now, I don’t know if anyone I’m friends with even likes me anymore. Or maybe my mind is just making things up.
High school in America is incredibly socially awkward, which makes everything a thousand times worse.
There’s so much drama, especially when you don’t have the support of a core group. This person hates that person, that person has a crush on this person, you can’t be friends with him because he’s a guy– rumors circulate, and it’s all a bit hard to keep up with.
Recently, I have come to realize just how much I hate the exclusivity of some friendship groups. I guess I’ve never really felt what it’s like to be on the outside – it’s no fun at all. Exclusive friendships leave people out and cause a lot of unnecessary pain. Now I’m the one being left out of my “group,” and it obviously doesn’t feel great. I do think it’s important to have people who really ground you and know everything about you. However, the close-mindedness of some friendships is just too much sometimes.
You can be exclusive and still accept others and be friends with different groups of people.
Sometimes, I like making friends with everyone and having only one specific person in my life who I know will always be there outside of my family. But other times, I miss feeling like I belong to a distinct group. I miss knowing that no one else would interfere with those bonds and relationships we’ve created. I’m being pulled in all these different directions, and I hate it. It all seems kind of trivial. However, I’ve learned a lot from this past year of not having my core group anymore.
I’ve learned that being open-minded is incredibly important. I’ve learned that I should try to be more accepting of others, even if I don’t know them very well. I’ve learned to stop worrying about what others are thinking of me (which is a work in progress). Most of all, I’ve learned that everything is transient – and that friendships and group dynamics change– sometimes they fade away. I’m learning to be okay with that.
The revival of the 1975 series One Day At A Time is a Netflix Original that revolves around a Cuban-American family in Los Angeles. Norman Lear, the creator of the original series wanted to remake his show with a Hispanic family. Many of the episodes focus on a variety of topics such as mental illness, homophobia, sexism, and discrimination that Latinx face in the United States.
When I started watching the series, there was something about the plot that struck my attention that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was only a few episodes in that it struck me: the show was quickly opening my mind to many real issues. It also provided representation and therefore awareness, and that makes me feel like I could relate to the characters.
Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado) is a nurse who served in Afghanistan and is raising two children on her own, with the help of her mother Lydia (Rita Moreno). She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, and the show has brilliantly dedicated a few episodes to her mental health.
For example, in an important episode called “Anxiety”, Penelope learns how to cope with panic attacks. Later, when her 17-year-old daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez) experiences severe anxiety, Penelope confesses that she goes through the same thing. Tapping on her own experience, she teaches her and her son Alex (Marcel Ruiz) what to do in case of an anxiety attack.
Elena, who is a self-proclaimed feminist and wants to be a journalist, comes out as a lesbian in the first season. She then develops a relationship with Syd (Sheridan Pierce), who identifies as non-binary. I admire Elena a lot for her development throughout the show. We also have some things in common, as we’re both from minority groups, aspiring journalists, and quirky in some way or another. I think the show does a great job capturing the growth of a teenage female going into adulthood, from questioning her sexuality to mending her relationship with her father.
Though this show has episodes based on issues that are relevant to our contemporary society, there is also some history behind it. Penelope’s mother Lydiaimmigrated to the United States from Cuba when Castro took over the country. She talks about her struggles of settling in another country and becoming a citizen. When I think of her journey, I think about many immigrants, including my mother, who left their country to pursue better opportunities in a new place that they’re not familiar with. This relates to many people in the U.S. who are first generation Americans and know the sacrifices their parent(s) had to make to provide a better future for their family. And because of that, Lydia is another character I also love (she does also have a spunky personality).
Lastly, I would like how the female characters tackle sexism in the second episode of the series, Bobos and Mamitas. Penelope is upset when she finds out she is paid less than a male coworker at her job. Elena advises her that this isn’t right and that she should call out her coworker. “[Sexism] might not seem like a big deal, but it chips away at you,” Elena explains to her mother, in an interesting parent-child role reversal.Penelope learns from her own daughter that she should fight for her own rights.
There were many things that I not only learned from this show but could relate to as well. One Day At A Time has touched the hearts of so many viewers, including myself. Even though the show was canceled by Netflix, I believe that it really should continue, because we need more shows of different backgrounds to tell these kinds of stories. One Day At A Time does a great time doing so.
Yikes, it’s not a nightmare. Wake up and look in the mirror.
Trust no aunty? Girllll, you’re officially the aunty.
1. You secretly watch Desi dramas and serials.
The days of making fun of those dreaded Desi dramas is over. Your guilty pleasure is watching South Asian TV serials, zoomed in dramatic faces and all. When someone catches you, blame it on your mom. Yeah, she definitely forced you.
2. You want to play matchmaker for all your friends.
At one point in time, you avoided the rishta aunties that had nothing to do but sat “you’re next” at gatherings… but now YOU ARE ONE. You just can’t wait to see all your friends get married.
It doesn’t matter if you’re married or have a significant other, but you need to find them someone so you can attend some festive events.
3. You have begun partaking in community gossip.
You know, the same gossip you hated to hear when your mom brought it up. It now fuels you. You low-key love hearing about the community gossip, especially when you’re not involved.
4. You make everything a big deal.
Cue the Bollywood music, you are about to put on a show. Did that really happen? Nooooooo, it couldn’t have.
5. You love yelling for no reason.
Remember the days you would complain that all your parents do is yell? Well, little children now complain about you. Why are you yelling on that Facetime call- they can hear you fine. Your voice is getting louder each day and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
6. You can’t keep up with the latest slang…
Times have changed. You used to think you were so cool when you’d say things like “lit”, “YOLO”, “slay” and “bye Felicia.” The days when you knew and understood current slang is over. You used to explain what “LOL” meant to your family, now you barely know what “GOAT” means.
7. …but you say things like…
You find yourself incorporating Desi terminology into English sentences when speaking to your Desi friends. You may not even remember the English word for something, but know the perfect Desi one to use. You find yourself saying things like “oh ho,” “hain,” and “oof” often.
8. You find yourself disagreeing with Generation Z and, later, maybe even lecturing them.
Kids these days… You can’t believe what the younger generations are doing. Eating Tide pods as a challenge? Remember when your parents would start a story with, “when I was your age?” Well now, you’re in that boat. You might find yourself lecturing younger family members or friends on things you did when you were their age.
9. Suddenly, you’ve developed a taste for chai.
When you were younger, you didn’t quite get the obsession your parents had with tea. Suddenly, you’ve developed a taste for it. It begins slow with a sip or two not tasting so bad, then gradually increases to you making a habit of having a daily cup of warm chai.
10. You have a bedtime and physically can’t stay up past it.
The days you could pull all-nighters and stay up all night are gone. You have secretly given yourself a bedtime. You’d rather be cozy in bed and get a good amount of sleep than stay out all night partying.
11. You say the same things your mom used to say to you.
You have begun saying the same things your mom used to say to you. You catch yourself often sounding just like her when talking to your younger siblings or cousins.
12. You’ve started judging people’s clothes at weddings.
You never thought you’d do this but you find yourself judging people’s clothes at weddings. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative thing, you could be admiring them. But overall, going to a wedding can mean checking out outfits for you to pick apart to design the perfect addition for your own wardrobe.
You begin finding inspiration for your own closet by mixing and matching other people’s outfits in your head.
13. You find yourself cleaning…for fun.
You no longer dread cleaning. Sometimes you like to just take a day to clean up the house and make it look presentable. You may even find yourself complaining, no one helps you clean, but the real question is do you even let them? You’re beginning to like cleaning and think you do it best.
14. To your surprise, you actually love daal.
When you were younger, it was the worst day ever when your mom decided to cook daal instead of biryani for dinner. But now, it’s not so bad. Easy to cook and kinda yummy, you find yourself liking daal and other vegetable dishes you hated as a kid.
15. Finally, your rotis are round.
When that annoying aunty asks you if you can make round rotis, you can now answer yes. You have mastered the round and fluff roti. You take pride in it. You own it, not only does it look great, but you know it tastes good.
16. And you love feeding people.
You find yourself taking on the characteristics of your parents. The tradition of them wanting to feed all your friends to food coma continues with you. You love feeding people when they come over, whether it’s home cooked or take out you don’t let anyone leave hungry.
17. You’d rather talk on the phone than text.
You prefer to call friends on the phone over texting. It seems easier to share stories verbally than text. When something big happens it makes more sense to you to call your friends for a quicker reaction than text and wait. Why send a long text message when you can pick up the phone and call?
18. Your form of exercise is walking around the neighborhood.
You thought it was cute seeing those Desi aunties power-walk around the neighborhood swinging their arms in a sari. Now, you’re one of them. Whether it’s accompanying your mom, aunt or grandmother on a walk or going alone, you have joined the neighborhood aunty walking club.
19. You’ve started threatening annoying kids with a chappal.
The scariest moment of your childhood was when your mom threatened to hit you with a chappal (slip-on sandal). You promised yourself you’d never do that to your own kids or anyone else. But now, you find yourself unintentionally using the same threats.
Your little brother bothering you? Your first instinct is to threaten to hit him with YOUR chappal.
20. Your dance moves have gotten, um, “better.”
You used to be shy to hit the dance floor during weddings or other functions. Whether it was because you didn’t have dance moves or cared what the aunties would say about you, you just didn’t feel like dancing. As you’ve gotten older that care is out the window. Your dance moves have gotten better and even if they haven’t, you don’t care, you’re gonna be the first one on the floor for all the aunties to stare.
Move over and make some noise, the Desi girl is coming through.
P.S. Being an aunty doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
Embrace the change. Party it up.
As much as you may hate on the awful aunties in your community and on yourself for becoming an aunty, you know it was inevitable. Let’s face it. You low-key know you wouldn’t want it any other way.
The aunties in your community made you who you are today. Who says you need to be one of the awful ones? Change the stereotype of the hating aunties and get yourself a woke squad. Be a proud, woke, feminist, bamf aunty that younger girls will look up to.
Let’s change the typical aunty from a judgmental woman you want to avoid to a woman you want to have as part of your life.
In addition to Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians releasing in theaters, the movie adaptation of Korean American author Jenny Han’s book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will be streaming on Netflix August 17, 2018. With an Asian female-led cast this movie is making just as much of an impact as Crazy Rich Asians and I’m so excited to see some different representation on screen.
This teen romance follows the story of Lara Jean Covey or LJ (Lana Condor), a biracial Korean American teen whose seemingly normal life goes haywire when her secret love letters get sent out to five boys. This would be a nightmare for almost anyone, especially the imaginary romanticist like Lara Jean. How she overcomes her dilemma and falls in love for real is both hilarious and inspiring and will leave viewers of all ages with important lessons to take away.
Besides the inevitable love pentagon Lara Jean finds herself in, this movie is filled with gems.
First, we have the sisters’ unbreakable bond. One of the boys to receive a love letter happens to be her older sister Margot’s (Janel Parrish) boyfriend, Josh (Israel Broussard). This causes some tension between all three sisters but multiple times throughout the movie they can put their petty issues aside and stand together. As three girls growing up without a mother, their relationship and influence on each other are extremely important to them, and it shows with each sister’s actions, even the youngest bratty 11-year-old sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart).
Secondly, the way they address loss in this movie I find really important. So often we see young adult media where there is a single parent but the effects of this are readily ignored. Both LJ and Peter (Noah Centineo), another letter recipient, live in single-parent households, one from death and one from abandonment, but neither have issues discussing their pain in an open and healthy way. I really relate to both Lara and Peter, and the solace they find in each other is admirable.
Furthermore, the subtle addressing of social issues in this movie is phenomenal. From calling out the racism in 80s movies in their disgusting portrayal of Asian characters to dealing with slut-shaming and comprehensive sex education. When older sister Margot relays to LJ that “it’s never worse for the guys” I felt like I was talking to my sister and friends. And I truly appreciate the gynecologist father who is not afraid to be open with his daughters about menstrual cycles, love, and safe sex. This movie doesn’t beat you over the head with wokeness but instead realistically portrays issues that teen girls are going through all over the world.
As to be expected when condensing a sizeable novel, the pacing of the movie is a little bit off. And you don’t get the full romantic growth that eventually buds between Lara and Peter like in the novel. Their love is still believable, however, and you root for them to figure it out.
My only criticism of the movie is a minuscule moment between the sisters that you would only notice as a book reader. When Margot comforts her sisters after the big climactic moment in the movie she says the words “Covey Girls forever”, but in the book, the sisters frequently refer to themselves as the Song Girls. It’s an important way in which they connect with their deceased mother who gave them the moniker of her maiden name as well as their Korean heritage. A lot of the moments that seemed to be cut from the movie are those that deal with the girls’ Korean identities. Maybe it’s not a big deal but the erasure felt deliberate and left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.
Overall, the movie is cute and I would 10/10 watch again. It ends with a cliffhanger of another letter recipient arriving at her door, John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Burchette) which only alludes to more drama for LJ to wade through. I can definitely say he is my favorite boy of all Lara’s boys and you won’t want to miss what’s next.
What I’d like to see most in the sequel (Netflix, I hope you’re working on it right now!) and hopefully the third movie is a full embracing of the Song girls’ Korean identity. I look forward to how New Year’s will be portrayed because in the book it’s a full celebration with traditional dress, activities, and their mom’s side of the family. These elements are essential parts of the characters’ personalities and motivations, includng their dad, and it shouldn’t be erased.
Reign follows the story of Mary, Queen of Scots. The drama is set in the 15th century French court and traces France’s relationships, political and otherwise, with its allies and enemies. While the writers were known to take liberties with the plotline, they loosely conformed to history books. The series ran for 4 seasons, bagging two awards in its first and receiving major nominations in the rest. I am not a big fan of politics, but I happened to catch a random episode and I was hooked.
It may not have been renewed for a fifth season (leading to an almost abrupt finale), but it was good while it lasted. The completely unpredictable plotline (unless you read up on your history for the outcome) made the series refreshing yet entertaining. If you don’t watch it for the good-looking men (wink, wink), the majestic wardrobes or the beautiful jewelry, you have to watch it for its women. Despite the prevailing patriarchy of the times, the women found a way out of every situation they were thrown into, with grace and aplomb. As the tagline said: “Long may she reign”.
If you choose to binge watch Reign, here are the kickass Queens and mistresses to keep an eye out for.
1. Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France
Played by the incredibly gifted Megan Follows, she is the quintessential power-hungry ruler who could do just about anything for her children. Such was her brilliant portrayal, that you want to kill her when she is evil and yet love her when she is kind. Based on her motives, she flips between the good and the bad side so effortlessly, she makes it hard to believe she is the same person. If you need lessons on how to be evil, Queen Catherine should be your role model.
2. Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland (& to-be Queen of France)
The protagonist of the story, the series is a Bildungsroman (coming of age story) for not just her, but her country as well. It follows Mary’s tenacious journey from teenage to adulthood, with her constantly having to make tough decisions. Played by the spunky Adelaide Kane, Mary is not your typical ruler, and follows her heart and her conscience, more than conforming to political expectations. Now this is the kind of ruler we need, who goes out of her way to protect her people and does what is right by them, at great personal cost.
3. Elizabeth Tudor, the Queen of England
The foil to our protagonist, she is her cousin by blood, but is different from her in almost every other way. Played by the formidable Rachel Skarsten, Elizabeth will make you detest her decisions and choices. However, you cannot deny that she single-handedly rules England with an iron fist in a male-dominated court. Although society dictates that every female ruler should have a husband by her side, she shows them exactly who’s boss.
4. Diane de Poitiers, King Henry’s mistress
Despite being almost 3 decades older than the King of France, the reticent yet assertive Diane wields enormous power as the King’s most trusted advisory. France was then a largely Catholic nation and considering she was not his lawful wife; she should have been banished or kept secret. Contrarily, she is given more importance in state functions than the Queen herself. Diane is portrayed by the lovely Anna Walton.
5. Lola Fleming, one of Mary’s ladies-in-waiting (and I won’t tell you whose mistress)
A relatively silent but strong character, Lola is a pillar of strength for Mary throughout the series. Portrayed by the intense Anna Popplewell, she believes in simple things like friendship and family and love. Like Mary, she upholds certain values and refuses to deviate from them, despite the costs.
6. Claude de Valois, Princess of France
Although not a queen or mistress, this eternal rule-breaker deserves a special mention. Played by the feisty Rose Williams, Claude is one woman who cared tuppence about her royal bloodline and its expectations. Throughout the series, she does as she pleases, even if that meant being inappropriate at times. Although she had a rough childhood, thanks to her mother, Queen Catherine’s disdain of her, she grows up into a confident young woman who doesn’t let anyone boss her around, be it her brothers or potential suitors.
If you haven’t seen Reign yet, I’m hoping I’ve caused enough FOMO for you to go check it out. Trust me, watching these beautiful yet incredibly strong women and their personalities is totally worth watching all the four seasons. You can thank me later.
I’ve been in love with the movies ever since I can remember. When I was little, I’d memorize my favorite films and act them out in my living room. Even at that young age, I understood that film transported me from my little world in the suburbs of Long Island to somewhere new and exciting. I relished seeing into different worlds, meeting different kinds of characters and pretending to be someone I wasn’t. It was a fun and welcome distraction from being bullied at school or struggling to find my place among my siblings. But it was also something else: the precursor to self-realization.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the movies. I enjoy sitting alone in the darkness of the theater and being overwhelmed by the images and sounds on the screen. What I’m finding, though, is that every film makes me cry. Whether it’s a comedy or a serious historical drama, I am moved beyond words by what I see up there on that big screen.
Part of it is that film helps me confront certain real-world issues that I don’t have to face in my day-to-day. Because cinema is universal, it has the power to make us see beyond our own circumstances and recognize how small our individual worlds really are. I’m often moved by stories that seem far removed from my own and inspired by characters imbued with sheer strength and iron will.
More than that, though, I’m moved by how I see myself in these films regardless of their subject matter. Tears flow from my eyes when I encounter characters whose bravery trumps my own, whose love for people goes beyond anything I feel I’m capable of giving and whose inner beauty I fear could never be my own. In so many movie characters, I find what I know I am not or have yet to become. I see hints of the person I used to be and wonder how I strayed so far from what I know I can be. But, sometimes, I see the people I know and love in these characters.
To put it more simply: as I’ve gotten older, movies have become less a distraction from real life and more a reflection of what life actually is. Film, like life itself, is short and ever-changing. It’s a call to arms for those of us who sometimes don’t understand our own strength or value as human beings; it provides a way to see ourselves for all the good and bad we’re capable of harboring deep within us.
On a grander scale, film has always been a reflection of the time and setting in which it was made. For example, you can look back at Depression-era pictures and see that American audiences preferred the glitz and glamor of the silver screen to the austerity of their everyday lives. And Film Noirs of the 40s offered audiences an outlet for wartime anxiety. In total, film is a mirror image of the people sitting in the theater. The images projected onto those big screens are all of us. We look at them, they look at us and, for a brief moment in time, we are one and the same.
I feel this on a deeply emotional level whenever I watch a film, especially if that film happens to be a favorite of mine. If you’ve never thought about how your favorite film reflects your inner self, I urge you to consider what truths you might find there.
Zoe Lau is originally from Hong Kong, and after studying in Singapore and the US, she’s working and making a name for herself in New York City. This year, she toured in Maine with the Theater at Monmouth, playing the lead Kaguya in “The Tale of Princess Kaguya”. In June, she read an original play, “White Pearl” and acted in the off-Broadway Musical, “Comfort Women” that premiered in 2015 and centered around the forced prostitution of Korean women by Japanese forces during World War 2, a subject rarely covered in this genre in the United States. Zoe has also been featured in independent films and advertisements in recent years.
The Tempest: How did you discover your love of theatre? Was there a moment when you realized this was it for you?
Zoe Lau: My very first performance opportunity definitely played a huge part in my journey into theatre. I played Sleeping Beauty in my kindergarten graduation and loved being on stage. Later on, I was able to explore the different realms of theatre during middle-high school Drama class. That was when I realized that I may have fallen in love with theatre and this is what I want to do for life.
You’re trilingual, what has it been like to engage with plays in multiple languages, has your multilingual identity/experience informed how you relate to particular works?
Being trilingual rocks! (And having different accents rocks!) I really wish I paid more attention in learning other languages when I was a kid. A lot of new and emerging theatre pieces now have multiple languages in their text and of course, my language skills came in handy. I have done readings and performances in other languages and being fluent in them helped make certain lines sound more authentic.
I played a Chinese-Singaporean in “White Pearl” which was written by Anchuli Felicia King. We had a reading of this at the Roundabout Black Box Theatre in June this year. This play was set in Singapore and having lived there for about 6 years and still being able to pull an authentic Singaporean accent, I instantly related to this piece of writing.
How and why did you choose to come to the United States to work?
As a person with a diverse background, I know I have to come to the United States to work. I have lived in a number of countries and I want to work in the place where the most theatre and films come from in this era – hence the United States. Yes, the market here is challenging and that’s exactly why I know I will fit in with my international profile. There is always a demand for more diverse talents in the states, that’s why I chose to come here.
Is there anything you miss from theatre communities in other countries where you have lived that you’d want to see in New York?
Yes! I would love to have annual carnivals and parades of art and culture around New York. I performed with Arts in the Park with Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation and we performed on the stage in the annual carnival and paraded around Hong Kong, which attracted and entertained huge amount of people every year. Inspiring people of all ages with free art and culture! That is what we should do in New York too.
Tell me a little about the Broadway 101, what do you hope viewers get from your episode? What is your vision of what this series can achieve?
Broadway 101 is a video series that will be published on different video platforms such as YouTube, Chinese equivalent platforms: YouKu, iQiyi and Tencent. This series introduces everything about Broadway (mainly to Chinese audiences), ranging from the basics of what Broadway is to interviews with artists, actors, designers, directors, managers etc. who work in the scene to talk about their experiences in New York City and the theatre world.
I have an exclusive episode in Broadway 101 where the episode follows me around New York City going to rehearsal and explaining different procedures from getting around auditions to loading in for a show. I hope viewers could see the hard work actors, directors, stage managers and crew put together in order to run a show. By watching my episode, they can see behind the scenes and hopefully understand more about the nature of working as an actor, especially in New York City.
I believe this series will be eye-opening for the Chinese audiences as they learn more about Broadway theatre and how things run on this end. In return, I personally hope it will influence and inspire theatre lovers to pursue and expand theatre in Asian countries as well.